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Gardening expert Lucy Hewett finds new use for an old sink.

My aunt and uncle recently moved and asked if I would like the original York stone sink that had been removed from the kitchen of my childhood family home?

It had been replaced years ago with a stainless steel one, which was more the fashion at the time!

I was delighted, but wondered how we would get it home, when she told me it would take four men to move it!

Getting the sink into position
Getting the sink into position

But, a man with a digger later, we got it home where it has made a good cover for our rather dangerous well.

Now I’m going to treat my family heirloom to a much-deserved springtime spruce up.

All ship shape for spring
All ship shape for spring

Alpine Aggro?

In botanical terms an alpine plant is one that grows above the tree line in mountainous regions, I can vouch for this as we have seen many on our travels to the Alps.

You may think alpines are fussy or require special treatment to grow but there are many that need very little attention and are so colourful and easy to grow.

We can recreate their natural habitat just by filling a suitable trough or pot (no need for a York sink) with a 50/50 mix of ericaceous soil & No. 1 potting compost & a bit of grit added for drainage.

Then plant up with a mix of alpines (see below for a few) or go for one variety for a striking look and finally top dress with grit to help keep ‘necks’ of plants dry, moisture in and suppress weeds. I’m definitely an alpine convert.

Alpines Varieties:

Evergreens such as the silver foliaged Artemisia schmidtiana ‘Nana’, drought resilient Sempervivums that change colour with the seasons.

Saxifraga ‘Theoden’ has pretty purple blue flowers in the spring and forms low green clumps. For white flowers in spring, followed by feathery seed heads Pulsatilla alpine is a good choice and Allium flavum will give you masses of yellow flowers in June and July.

Tip: use any left over ericaceous compost to refresh the top layer of soil around any other acid loving plants you may have: Blueberries, rhododendron, camellia, azaleas will all appreciate this.

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